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How LGBT Families Are Expanding Christian Love

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, culture, dishonesty, ethics, family, freedoms, gayrights, GoodNews, government, law, media, society, sadness, rights, religion, safety, usa, world )

- 1892 days ago -
As we usher in the Lenten season, I've been reflecting on how traditional Catholic theology has slammed into some painful walls of the modern world.

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JL A (281)
Friday February 15, 2013, 9:12 am
How LGBT Families Are Expanding Christian Love
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As we usher in the Lenten season, I’ve been reflecting on how traditional Catholic theology has slammed into some painful walls of the modern world.

First, the letter of resignation from Pope Benedict XVI earlier this week, where he acknowledged his lack of strength of mind and body to lead in a rapidly changing society. Then, the U.S. immigration debate, which has queued up opposition from the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops as it pertains to protections of same-sex couples.

In both cases, Catholic leadership is challenged to examine their conscience before God in order to fulfill the ministry entrusted to them.

But what does it say about the conscious of church leadership when it does not support and uphold LGBT families?

Don't get me wrong; Catholics are one of the most supportive religious communities on this issue. But as the policy discussions expand, the disconnect between the church leadership and the people has become sharper. On one hand many faithful Catholics are constantly interacting with their LGBT neighbors, workmates, children and parents; and on the other, the churches leaders struggle to understand the human stories of inequality--stories like Kori and Becky Ashtons'.

As Kori shared recently, her life was never the same after she stood at the alter and said two-life changing words to her fiancee: “I do.”

Kori and Becky were legally married in the state of Iowa, which recognizes same-sex marriages. But their marriage license was void the moment they set foot in Texas, where they currently live. Like many same-sex couples, Kori and Becky know just how relative equality can be.

Each state can legally choose how to define marriage—nine states recognize same-sex marriages, while forty-one don’t. Texas is also one of 29 states where employers are legally allowed to fire gay and lesbian employees on the basis of their sexual orientation; and one of 34 states where an employee can lose their job because they are transgender.

As a Christian community we have to ask ourselves: how can we live in a country that does not protect and defend LGBT families? How do some call themselves “Christian” and at the same time advocate for this blatant inequality?

As Rev. Nancy Wilson recently shared in the immigration debate, "people of faith are called to mercy, compassion, justice and love for the sojourner. These core values call us to greatness, as both citizens and believers."

Many Christians see the effects of exclusionary policies as they play out in their neighbor’s lives. Maybe it’s the gay couple denied a marriage license in Tennessee, or the pregnant wife who cannot sponsor her spouse for a green card because the federal government does not recognize their marriage.

As gay, lesbian and transgender people emerge from the shadows, we see how the very policies created to “defend” marriage deny this sacrament to loving, committed couples.

Christians around the country are tired of watching their friends and families struggle. They're tired of a culture war that demands a separate but equal framework, and pained by bearing witness to the daily consequences it has on the lives of hardworking Americans.

They see how these couples struggle to find stability without the rights and protections granted to their heterosexual counterparts. Christians who were once conflicted are becoming new allies in the fight for equality knowing the radical love in the Gospels cannot allow them, in good conscience, to treat LGBT families as anything less than equal (Matthew 7:12).

As the public rallies behind initiatives like the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), comprehensive immigration reform, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and other reforms that will strengthen American families, Christians who are still conflicted have a unique opportunity to re-examine their own definition of love.

We, the LGBT community and our allies, must also extend the same Christian hospitality to our neighbors as they struggle to understand God’s will for our LGBT families.

It is a long road ahead, but we can find new meaning in our beliefs as we read scripture, interact with the diversity of our world, and learn. “Love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8).

Photo courtesy of Freedom to Marry, by Anthony J. Merced & Jennifer Gallardo at Merlardo Productions Ltd.

John B (185)
Friday February 15, 2013, 4:31 pm
Thank you J.L. for posting this wonderful article. The tide is turning but there is still along way to go for equality in a lot of areas not just marriage. Read and noted.

JL A (281)
Friday February 15, 2013, 4:38 pm
You are welcome John. Yes, there is still a ways to go in many areas of life for the marginalized and outcasts of our society--like many Biblical stories tell us Jesus chose to respect and treat with love and compassion.
You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.

Angelika R (143)
Friday February 15, 2013, 4:41 pm
Thx JL- noting to add to the last paragraph /sentene there.

Angelika R (143)
Friday February 15, 2013, 4:43 pm
*nothing*, sentence* -(get used to a missing c now and then! ;) some bug under the key, hibernating :-)

JL A (281)
Friday February 15, 2013, 5:03 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last week.

Terry V (30)
Friday February 15, 2013, 5:51 pm
Live at let live

JL A (281)
Friday February 15, 2013, 5:52 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last week.
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